(photo by Cadence Kennedy)
Monday marked seven sweet weeks with baby Eleanor. In some ways it seems like it went by in a flash and in other ways it seems like the days and nights have been moving at a snail’s pace. Someone once told me during the baby and toddler stage the days are long but the years are short, and that sums it up perfectly. I have been wanting to share Ellie’s birth story with you all for a few weeks now, but each time I sat down to write it I would, without fail, get interrupted by a toddler needing to use the potty or wanting me to read her a book, or a newborn crying to be fed or changed. So, while both kids are down for the night (for now…) it seems like the perfect time type this all up.
Just a little background, from the first doctor’s appointment where we found out we were expecting baby number two Brian and I had it in our heads that I would be induced just like I was with Addison. I was not allowed to go much past 39 weeks due to being a type I diabetic and so I just assumed that I would not go into labor naturally before then. With Addison I was in the hospital a full 24 hours before she was born, and I actively pushed for about four hours. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. The first time around my whole body was already exhausted even before I had to start pushing, and at some point a c-section was off the table due to her being too far down, so Addison was pulled out with the help of forceps. The doctor on call was absolutely amazing and in the end Addison was the most perfect baby I had ever seen.
Flash forward to this pregnancy I was pretty much dreading delivery. I was dreading a recovery that would be painful and wouldn’t allow me to sit on anything but pillow for over a month (I had an episiotomy with Addison that was no walk in the park). I tried to stay positive and just hoped my body would have another plan and this baby would decide to arrive on her own without medical intervention.
I started weekly appointments at 30 weeks and each weekly appointment everything stayed pretty status quo. While she was always measuring two or so weeks ahead nothing else was out of the ordinary. By the time 36 weeks rolled around I was feeling as if every time I stood up the baby was going to fall out. I’m pretty sure everyone, including my doctor thought I was just being dramatic, but I honestly didn’t ever remember that feeling with Addison. Things were progressing very slowly and I was even told by my doctor he would feel OK waiting until 40 weeks to discuss induction. While I was happy for the good report I could not imagine another four weeks feeling like this.
At just over 38 weeks I woke up on a Sunday morning a decided to start timing my contractions for what felt like the hundredth time. They were erratic, some 5 minutes apart, some 20. We had a pretty packed Sunday which included an early birthday celebration for my dad so we went on our day as usual. It wasn’t until I was at my parents and we were in the middle of my dad’s birthday dinner that the pain picked up. I tried to play it cool with my family but they convinced me I should call the OB’s service line and see what they say. By the time my OB called back I had crawled into bed and turned on Netflix ready to wait it out for the night and head into my doctor’s appointment the following afternoon. However, she said that I should take a ride into labor and delivery because of all the pressure I was feeling. She told me that if I was any more dilated than I was last Monday (a little more than 3cm) they would keep me, and if not, I could go home and follow-up at my regular weekly appointment. The pain had lessened bit but I was still feeling a ton of contractions. So, we got dressed and I called my mother in law to have her come sit with Addison, but I was pretty positive that I would home in an hour or two.
After arriving at the hospital and getting settled into a triage room I was actually feeling a little silly that I was there. When the on call resident walked in gave me an exam I was in complete shock that she said I was 5cm along and that our baby girl was on her way! The rush of emotion at 11:30 at night was pretty crazy. I was in such shock that it was actually happening and that I was not being induced. Finally after 9 months of waiting to meet our baby girl it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that she would be here soon.
The rest of the evening and birth was pretty uneventful. I didn’t have the fastest labor int he world but it only took about five hours from the time they broke my water until she arrived. I did get an epidural (any mammas who go without pain meds are my heroes!), and I started pushing at around 6am and Eleanor arrived at 6:36am. What I was not expecting was a 10lbs 4oz baby! Prior to being admitted my mom and I talked about how big we thought she would be. Since I was about 10 days early I was guessing high 7’s low 8’s, so boy were we off. When they took Eleanor over to the scale to get weighed I remember my OB laughing and coming back to the table asking “how big was your first daughter again?” The next thing I knew I saw the anesthesiologist walk into the room and heard him loudly say, “wow that’s a 10lber!” Then I heard Brian chuckle and say, “wow, 10lbs 4oz…man.” I really couldn’t believe it. I know 10lb babies are born all the time, but I was just convinced she was going to be smaller. (Also, if any of you are wondering it likely had very little to do with my diabetes. My A1C, which is a three-month average off your blood glucose levels, was 5.6 which is about what it would be if you were not a diabetic at all. So Eleanor was just a big girl and really long).
I was also thrilled because while I knew Eleanor would be taken directly to the NICU for observation purposes, the NICU pediatrician allowed her to stay with me for a full hour. With Addison I only had about 10 minutes. The rest of the hospital stay is kind of blur and while all of the labor and delivery staff as well as the staff on the recovery floor was absolutely amazing it is very hard to be comfortable while in the hospital. I was really just looking forward to getting home and starting life as a family of four.
While I won’t go into full detail about my recovery process I have to say it was a million times easier the second time around. Maybe it was because I knew what to expect but it also probably had to do with the length of my labor. If anyone has particular questions about this feel free to email me or shoot me a Facebook or Instagram message. I am more than happy to answer anything you want to know. I really wish I was more prepared for the recovery process the first time around but you live you learn, right?
Just like Brian and I went from having one beautiful daughter to having two beautiful daughters. As a first time mom it was exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time because I had no idea what to expect. With every new phase you learn something new about yourself as a parent and about your child as a little human. The second time around it is just as exciting and nerve wracking, but not because you feel unprepared, but because you wonder if you can parent two at the same time, or love two the same amount. I’m sure along the way I will learn how to navigate all these emotions, and as far as loving them, your heart seems to grow a million times larger once you bring another child into the world. Even with all of these what ifs I’m so thankful that I get to figure it all out while watching two of the most beautiful, funny and inspiring baby girls grow up.